Tips for Recovery from Sexual Assault
Every person is unique, but many people who have been sexually
assaulted have some of the same feelings that you may be having.
The following tips for recovery were made by survivors. Some
of them may work for you.
- Take time to be kind to yourself. It takes time to overcome
a trauma. Do not feel as though you must be healed right
away. Give yourself time.
- Keep a journal. This is a wonderful way to help work through
your thoughts. You can also look back on it and see patterns
that need to be changed. It can also show you how much healing
you have done.
- You may have flashbacks. Hold on to something—maybe
a table or even a friend. Take a deep breath, and exhale
slowly. Focus on what is going on around you that you can
see and touch. Keep doing this until you feel better.
- When you feel anxiety climbing to the uppermost limit,
stop what you are doing. Look around you. If you do not feel
safe, go to a safe place immediately. When you are safe,
try to concentrate on breathing out very slowly. Do this
several times until you feel better. Resist the urge to rush,
and just concentrate on breathing out slowly and relaxing.
- If you have a nightmare, turn on all the lights and/or
calming music. If you live with someone, you can ask them
to do it for you.
- When you get angry, don’t be afraid of it. Rip an
old newspaper to shreds. Stomp all over a pillow. Run in
place. Throw safe objects that aren’t breakable into
other safe spaces, yell, scream into your pillow. Do whatever
it takes to get the anger out. Don’t hold it in.
- Make yourself comfortable and relaxed. Take soothing warm
baths scented with your favorite bubble bath, listen to soft
relaxing music. Fix yourself a mug of tea or coffee and sip
it slowly. Hug a teddy bear or favorite stuffed animal.
- Get support, support, support. Find someone who will listen.
Call the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault Hotline
at 1-800-838-8238 or your local sexual assault crisis center.
Consider joining a support group of other survivors of sexual
For support, talk to your partner,
family, friends, an advocate at a sexual assault crisis
center, or call the Virginia Family Violence & Sexual
Assault Hotline at 1-800-838-8238(v/tty).